Parents' Guide to

The Name of This Book Is Secret

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Mild mystery tries too hard to be Lemony Snicket.

The Name of This Book Is Secret Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 6+

Delightful, subversive, and wholesome

A mysterious tale that's just right for kids. The tone is spooky but light-handed, and really gets kids in the atmosphere of a Big Secret. It also encourages their patience by dripping out the plot slowly while keeping them rapt with descriptions of kids and places and things. If you're reading this to them, don't be surprised if they interrupt you a lot to throw out their own ideas. Though there are some elements that get morbid, it is all handled well. It's not scarier than anything in Aladdin (1992).

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 10+

An Instant Classic

This book is great. It creates a light-hearted tone throughout the book that works very well with any part of the book. It keeps a sense of illusion throughout and foreshadows the events very well. The quality of this book is so great that the sequels will have a tough time surpassing this.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12 ):
Kids say (65 ):

The fun part is the mystery: Children with a taste for this kind of thing will enjoy the clues and codes, and will wish for more of them. Some will be immediately obvious to many kids, while others are more clever, but this part of the story is a fairly humorous romp. The dreary part is the author's voice: Apparently trying to take a leaf from Lemony Snicket's books, he gives incessant warnings about how dangerous it is to read the book; this, combined with the utter lack of anything that justifies the build-up, comes across as lame at best and annoying at worst.

The sum of these parts, along with some plot holes and lapses in logic, make for a book that is modestly entertaining at times and irritating at others. But given the dearth of books in this particular genre of lighthearted mysteries involving codes and a touch of the supernatural, kids who loved Lemony Snicket's or Blue Balliett's books will want to read this too.

Book Details

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